Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he spoke with his Armenian counterpart Nikol Pashinyan this morning to express Canada’s concerns about the war in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces that has raged on for weeks.
Speaking at a press conference in Ottawa, Trudeau said he told Pashinyan that “Canada will continue to work extremely hard with our allies to put an end to the violence.
“I encourage all sides to engage in dialogue to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”
A readout of the phone call released by the Armenian side said Pashinyan talked to Trudeau about what he called Turkey’s “destructive involvement in hostilities and the unacceptable aspiration to impose its influence in the South Caucasus.” Pashinyan also thanked Trudeau for suspending the export of military goods to Turkey.
Armenian authorities have accused Turkey of sending arms — including F-16 fighter jets and combat drones, military advisers and Syrian jihadist mercenaries — to Azerbaijan to fight against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey and Azerbaijan deny these claims.
Two weeks ago, the Trudeau government suspended the export of sophisticated Canadian drone technology to Turkey while Ottawa investigates claims that it is being used by the Azerbaijani military against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Canada has also called on Turkey to stay out of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Trudeau said he would discuss the suspended export permits with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later in the day.
Turkey offended by freeze on drone tech exports
“I will express how important it is for Canada and for our allies around the world that there be a de-escalation of the violence in the region, and impress upon Turkey how important it is to encourage people to get back to the [negotiating] table and not continue to participate in the violent conflict ongoing right now,” Trudeau said.
A readout of the call between Trudeau and Erdogan released by the office of the Turkish president said “it is against the [NATO] alliance spirit for Canada to suspend the export of some military products to Turkey.”
Erdogan told Trudeau that the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict has escalated as a result of Armenian attacks.
“The fact that Nagorno-Karabakh has been under Armenia’s occupation for almost 30 years is the root cause of the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict,” Erdogan said.
Azerbaijan is conducting its “counter-operation” within its internationally-recognized borders and on its own territory, Erdogan added.
Canada and its NATO and European allies are increasingly worried about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has the potential to draw the rest of the North Atlantic alliance into a military confrontation with Russia.
Speaking to reporters from the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius at the conclusion of his week-long European tour, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne echoed Trudeau’s comments.
“When it comes to Nagorno-Karabakh, we want all external parties to stay out of this conflict,” Champagne said.